We often suffer from ‘TRBL hearing’ in our house. It’s not that Timothy’s hearing is bad. In fact, although we worried for the first year and a half of his life about his hearing, recent tests confirmed that his hearing is good and that we’d better be more careful about what we say around him.
But ‘TRBL hearing’ comes and goes like a weather pattern. It occurs when you’re holding Timothy and he’s making noise. Whether T’s babbling or crying, it’s rarely a low volume, and it has the effect of blocking out the world. It’s like standing on an airport tarmac next to a jumbo jet or wearing those noise cancelling headphones. You cannot hear a thing. Many times has Laura been three feet away while I was holding a noise making Timothy, and I might as well be working a jackhammer. I just point to Timothy and shout that I’ll be happy to talk as soon as Timothy finishes his rant.
Timothy has mastered the concept of ‘in’. He enjoys putting things into larger containers, like putting wooden blocks in a bin, and then later taking them out. We have often said, “Timothy, can you put that block in the box?” and he throws down the block in the box like Kevin Garnett dunking a basketball and then we cheer and he raises both arms as if he’s just beaten the Miami Heat. We’re hoping that this ‘in’ skill bodes well for him to clean up his toys and keep his room clean. Or maybe wishful thinking…
This morning in church, Timothy had a chance to work the ‘in’ muscles. When the collection basket came around to us, I gave Timothy a $5 bill to put into the basket. As the usher reached our row and held out the basket, Timothy was an old pro and placed his monied hand above the collection. Maybe for dramatic effect, he didn’t drop the money in right away. No problem. I shook his hand a little, but Timo had no intention of letting go of Abe Lincoln. So I looked up and smiled at the usher and yanked the fiver from TRBL’s unwilling hand and dropped it into the basket.
I’m not sure if it’s a reflection on his stubbornness or us not learning, but there was a second collection this morning, and I gave Timothy a few bucks and he once again tried to play keep away with God’s money.
At least he’s consistent.
At the same mass this morning, I was holding him, and he leaned to one side and waved to the people in the pews behind us. When the seated Catholics failed to respond to his gestures, Timothy exhibited the classic Lee trait of being unable or unwilling to take a hint. Instead of giving up, he just waved harder and more frantically, until I decided that it would be better for he and I to take a stroll to the back of the church before an usher requested such an exit.
The way that a person signs ‘please’ (in sign language) is to flatten their hand and rub it back and forth at the top of their chest. It’s a neat sign and looks like the person is touching their heart as they appeal to you. It’s fun to see Timothy signing ‘more please’ when he wants more to eat. But all I can say is that this beautiful sign of ‘please’, in the hands of a little boy whose paws are covered in the tomato sauce he’s just eaten, just means one more dirty shirt.
Last week was the funeral for an amazing friend. I was fortunate to meet Lt. Col Mark Weber last year when I joined Outward Bound. Doctors gave Mark just a few months to live back in 2010 when he was diagnosed with cancer (during a physical exam to work with General Petraeus in Iraq).
Mark was a person of action, and was so inspired by the Outward Bound course he took that he had trained to become one of our instructors, helping military veterans.
In his last few months, Mark reached millions of people with his story through his book (Tell My Sons) and national and local appearances. But even as he was flying around the country (and one last time to Iraq), fighting a terminal disease and preparing his family for his eventual passing, Mark insisted on keeping regular commitments that he had made to us at Outward Bound to speak to small groups of students.
Mark not only gave us a real example of courage and positive attitude in the face of great adversity, he also insisted than any of us could do the same thing.
I pray for Mark’s wife, Kristin, and their three boys, Matthew, Joshua and Noah. And I am so grateful for what he taught me and that I had the good fortune to know Mark.